The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin

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What solution does James Baldwin offer to end America's racial divide?

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The solution offered by Baldwin in his book, The Fire Next Time, is an emotional-psychological and social-consciousness solution to the (many) problems springing from the racial divide. Baldwin does not advocate a specific course of political action as a concrete plan to erase the "color line" but rather proposes that an effort to see others for who/what they are is the best way to assuage the race conflicts in America. 

In the volume's first essay, "My Dungeon Shook," Baldwin writes to his nephew that black Americans might be called upon to enact the kind of acceptance he sees as a solution because white Americans cannot reasonably be expected to do so in mid-century America. 

"There is no reason for you to try to become like white people and there is no basis whatever for their impertinent assumption that they must accept you. The really terrible thing, old buddy, is that you must accept them. [...] You must accept them and accept them with love."

Baldwin expands upon this argument in the second essay of the volume, "Down at the Cross," and proposes that "total liberation" is necessary "before the law, and in the mind" for both whites and blacks to find any chance at becoming a single nation. This liberation is one of integration, in practice, but more importantly is one of consciousness in its primary workings. People must learn to see the existence of the other - to recognize that existence as its own good and thus cease making attempts to curb difference or narrow a divide defined by cultural/perspectival differences

Baldwin suggests that a difference in point of view is not the problem. The problem is that instead of acknowledging and respecting the point of view of...

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